OS X Mail - Library Downloads

While trying to clean up old mail, I have found a directory called "~/Library/Mail Downloads". It appears to be an assortment of attachments from recent emails.

My questions:

 1. Can these be deleted?
 2. Is there a high-level function for this via the Mail menus?
 3. Where is the function of this directory documented?
jasimon9Asked:
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jhyieslaCommented:
I believe that this folder is exactly what you think it is... the place where attachments are found.  I've not done any serious looking at it, but I'd bet that when you permanently delete the email associated with the attachment, it should disappear from that folder.
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jhyieslaCommented:
Upon further looking, it appears that this folder is used to store a copy of the attachment if you open it... say a word document that would be opened in Word or some other editor.  Form what I can tell, you should be able to delete them without issue. I believe that the original attachment that comes with the email is stored with the email.

http://forums.macosxhints.com/archive/index.php/t-88932.html
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jasimon9Author Commented:
Your second explanation does appear correct, along with the information in the link.
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jasimon9Author Commented:
I have changed the setting to delete them when Mail exits. However, the old ones are still there, so I am thinking maybe that only applies to new attachments, and the old ones have to be manually deleted. I am going to test this.
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jhyieslaCommented:
I would say that you are right... it's most likely not retroactive.  Especially if the attachment is old and you no longer have the email I'd think that it would be OK to delete it.
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jasimon9Author Commented:
I would think there would be some documentation about this somewhere. Any ideas?
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jhyieslaCommented:
More "arcane" information like this is usually found at Web sites like this one, the Apple Forums, which are a good source of Mac info, other Mac forums, and books like Dummies books and other type resources.
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jasimon9Author Commented:
I have done some testing, and it appears that the following occurs:

1. attachments are placed into the folder only when opened
2. with the changed setting, such attachments are deleted when Mail is exited
3. the older attachments will just hang around forever

It seems there should be a nice built-in cleanup function for such. However, for the equivalent in the Windows world, there is not, so probably too much too expect.

Probably third party cleanup tools have a reason for existence because of such features.
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jasimon9Author Commented:
Points split between the components of the answer, even though all from same repondant.
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